Malcolm Butler: Patriots 'gave up on me' in Super Bowl

New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler takes questions from reporters in the team's locker room following an NFL football practice Thursday Jan. 25 2018 in Foxborough Mass. The Patriots are to play the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 52 Su

A 2015 Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro in 2016, Butler performed below expectations for much of 2017, but it was still a surprise he only appeared on a few special teams plays Sunday.

Belichick out-smarted himself with his unorthodox decision to bench cornerback Malcolm Butler that cost the Patriots a sixth Super Bowl title. But of course, it's Belichick's Butler decision that will go down as the most striking in a season filled with head-turning personnel moves, from the offseason all the way through the Super Bowl. "I feel for [Butler]".

"He practiced it the most", Belichick said.

The Hoodie typically outwits, out-coaches and outlasts opponents with frightening precision, but his curious choice to sit the guy who had played more defensive snaps than anyone on his roster this season (97.8%, in case you were wondering) loomed large in New England's 41-33 loss to the Eagles Sunday night.

"Lost the game for us tonight", former cornerback Brandon Browner captioned an Instagram photo of Belichick.

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"That dude done started every game for that team, you feel me, since he picked the [expletive] ball off", Browner said. "I didn't know how to feel watching that s-t, without my homie playing, without Malcolm f-king playing, didn't know whether to cheer for their ass. They deserve that [loss] for not playing Malcolm".

Browner doubled down in a subsequent post, saying "a locker room was divided pregame". God bless u my friend, keep fighting, I saw you tear up pre game, first sign.

Another is defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, who was hired as the head coach of the Detroit Lions on Monday. "I don't know what it was".

The bigger Rowe had reportedly been practicing during the week as a starting cornerback opposite Stephon Gilmore, but Rowe said after the game that he still expected Butler to get his share of playing time. I'm sure other players felt the same way.

"I didn't know that", Long said. I could have changed that game, though. "That's about it", Butler told ESPN's Mike Reiss. This wasn't genius. From a purely football perspective, it was a bone-headed call, which beckons the question: What was the actual reason behind a decision that clearly made the Patriots worse on the field?

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